Pain (Alex Madison #2), by Adam Southward

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Adam Southward, and Amazon Publishing UK for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

When provided this advanced copy of the book, I wanted to get the full reading experience, so I turned to the series debut for some context. Devouring and thoroughly enjoying that piece, I knew that Adam Southward would be an author I would be adding to my ongoing reading list, with his captivating plot and well-paced narrative. It has been a year since Dr. Alex Madison handled a major case from the Met. While that one did not turn out as well as he expected, he has returned to consult once again. This case is a little different, but just as baffling. CCTV footage shows someone sneaking into the A&E of a London hospital and inflicting a great deal of pain to a waiting patient, so much so that it leads to an excruciating death. It would seem that this is not the first case of such an attach around London hospitals, but no one is entirely clear who this person is or what their motive could be. On the flip side, the reader is introduced to Mia Anastos, a young woman who can feel no pain, but revels in seeing it inflicted on others. She hides in the shadows and professes that she is on a mission to seek revenge for her pain. Mia’s targeted victims are only the first step in this complex web, as Madison finds her name on a list that matches her description. While Mia evades capture, she is being controlled by a larger group with hopes of neutralsing Dr. Madison themselves. As the psychology of pain comes to the forefront, Madison has a personal life in tatters that requires his additional attention. A great second novel in the series that keeps the reader hooked until the final reveal, leaving them begging for more. Adam Southward has great control over the series and its characters, tapping into the psychological and opening new areas of interest to the reader. Recommended to those who love quick thrillers, particularly the reader who finds matters of the mind of interest.

I powered through the first novel, in hopes that it would hold my attention enough to want to get to this ARC in quick order. Mission accomplished, as Adam Southward is able to mix a well-crafted thriller with strong psychological themes to keep the reader curious throughout. Alex Madison remains an intriguing character, easily liked by the reader. He is on point when it comes to his private practice and work with the police, though some find his insights too hard to comprehend or off the wall, thereby dismissing him. In a personal life that is anything but in order, Madison is forced to wrestle with a dark secret of his own, while trying to track down where to turn next in this highly unusual case. His relationship with his daughter is addressed yet again, as is the strained connection to his ex-wife. Madison has a great deal of growth to go and one can hope Southward will keep readers informed as the series grows. Other characters help to augment the excitement in this book, both with the case and through subplots that Southward uses to cut the tension. One can hope there will be some repeat appearances, as Alex Madison seems to have clicked its some and clashed with others. Southward uses a quick narrative, permitting the reader to learn a great deal in short order. The pain them resonates throughout and kept me wondering as the narrative built-up to a big reveal. Southward has proven he can handle psychological thrillers and police procedurals that mesh together effectively. I cannot wait to see what else is to come for Southward and Dr. Alex Madison.

Kudos, Mr. Southward, for another great ‘single day’ read. I am eagerly awaiting your next literary idea, but will be as patient as I must.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: